Norton Rockler, founder of Rockler Woodworking and Hardware, has passed away at age 98
He founded the company in 1954 as a mail-order business, introducing hobbyists and DIYers to specialty items that formerly were only accessible to professionals.
On December 31, 2020, some sad news was recently posted over at Rockler.com:
Remembering Our Founder
Norton “Nordy” Rockler
Feb 22, 1922 – Dec 28, 2020
Since many of you have been customers for a long time (some for decades), we wanted to let you know that our founder, Norton “Nordy” Rockler, has passed away. He was an inspiration to all of us here at Rockler, and he will be missed.
Norton “Nordy” Rockler passed away on December 28, 2020 at the age of 98 years old. He founded Minnesota Woodworkers Supply Company in 1954 as a mail order business, which later became The Woodworker’s Store with the opening of the first retail store in 1977. In 1996, the company was renamed Rockler Woodworking and Hardware and has since expanded nationally and internationally.
Nordy was a true pioneer and innovator in his field. He was able to recognize trends in woodworking and furniture making. He loved developing and selling great products, especially finishing, woodturning and furniture hardware. His vision created a company unique in the United States and introduced hobbyists and DIYers to specialty items that formerly were only accessible to professionals. His first catalog included many of the same products the company still carries today. It was to become the foundation upon which the home shop woodworking world was built.
Nordy’s kind and gentle nature attracted many wonderful employees to Rockler over the years, many of whom became great friends. He and his late wife, Bert, supported many arts organizations and charities. He was committed to doing good in the world – with his family, friends, business, community and more.
Nordy’s woodworking legacy lives on in the company he started through the stewardship of his daughter, Ann Rockler Jackson, her children and the many employees current and past who have made careers and friendships at Rockler.
We’ve also attached this charming video from Rockler’s YouTube page about their history: